Legal obligation if any working with real estate agent

I contacted a real estate agent and asked her to look at a property for sale for me in New York I am residing in Nevada. She looked at the property and got back to me with a brief opinion. I asked her to present an offer to purchase the property . She wrote up the offer I wanted presented and submitted it to the listing broker for the home.
My question is am I legally bound to work with this agent or can I go directly to the listing broker or another agent. No paperwork was signed by me to work with her in any way. Is she entitled to a commission from me or broker if I bypass her and close the deal on the home with the broker or another agent.

Asked on January 13, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Without a written contract, you are not obligated to *generally* work with her, but if she presented *this* offer to *this* seller for you, the law would find that she is entitled to a commission for it under one or more of several theories: oral contract (oral agreement or understanding that she would represent you on this purchase); unjust enrichment (she did the initial work; the law will not "unjustly" (or unfairly) "enrich" you by letting you get the benefit of her work without paying for it); promissory estoppel (she expened effort on your behalf in reliance on the promise--even if only implied--that she would be paid for her work, and that can make that promise binding). If this deal falls through, feel free to go to another agent; but if you buy the property where she wrote up and presented the offer, she is entitled to a commission.

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